7 Resume Editing Tips to Move Your Resume to the Top of the Stack

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February 9, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
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min read

Key takeaways

  • Why the art of crafting an impressive resume is in the editing
  • How to effectively edit your resume and stand out to potential employers
  • How Teal’s AI Resume Builder can help you catch errors, quantify your achievements, and create your best resume

Let's dive into a topic that's critical for all job seekers: resume editing. Yes, you heard that right—editing, not resume writing. 

Why? Because crafting a professional resume doesn't stop at putting your qualifications and experiences on paper. That's just the start—the first draft. The real magic happens in the editing process. It's through meticulous editing that your resume transforms into a compelling narrative that grabs the attention of the hiring manager and gets you closer to your dream job. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn seven essential resume editing tips that will help you avoid common mistakes and make your resume stand out in the crowded job market.

Don’t rush it: Understanding the importance of resume editing

In your job search, your professional resume serves as your first impression. It’s submitted along with your job application and shares your skills, best qualities, achievements, work history, and professional experiences with a potential employer.

While getting all of your content down on paper is the hardest part, you can’t overlook the importance of editing in creating a professional resume that helps you land job interviews and pursue your career goals. 

When you invest time and energy into resume editing—whether you rely on a resume writing service, use a resume builder, or go the DIY route—you:

  • Present yourself as a polished, professional, and detail-oriented job seeker
  • Showcase your best qualities and key skills with quantifiable results and impacts
  • Create a tailored resume that matches the description for the specific role you’re applying for
  • Write about your experiences in a way that’s keyword optimized and improves your chances of getting through applicant tracking systems (ATS)
  • Improve your chances of impressing hiring managers, landing job interviews, and potentially even getting hired faster

Regardless of whether you’re dusting off an existing resume or starting from scratch, the resume editing process isn’t something to skip or speed through. Dedicate some time to carefully reviewing your document to make sure it showcases you to potential employers in the best light.

Teal’s Resume Builder can help you draft your perfect resume. You can add achievements using helpful prompts, suggestions, and examples. Or, click the button to have AI generate achievements for you (and then adjust accordingly).

And when it comes time to review your resume with a fine tooth comb, Teal’s Spell Checker makes it easy to spot and fix errors. Unlike other online resume builders, you can also use Teal’s Resume Checker to identify gaps and improvement areas. Doing so will streamline the resume editing process and help you create your very best resume. 

How to edit a resume: Best practices

You’re ready to roll up your sleeves and put on your “resume editor” hat. So, how do you tackle this step—especially when you don’t consider yourself a professional resume writer? Before you get started, keep these best practices in mind: 

Give yourself plenty of time

When you feel rushed, you’re bound to miss things or make mistakes. Dedicate plenty of time to reviewing your document.

How long you need to spend will depend on the length of your resume (an entry level resume is understandably shorter than an executive resume that lists a long employment history) and how much tailoring you need to do.

But in general, job seekers should plan to spend at least an hour proofreading and fine-tuning a resume—even longer if they’re reviewing their cover letters at the same time.  

Read it backwards

Here’s a helpful editing hack: Try reading your resume backwards (meaning, from the bottom to the top). Doing so forces your brain to focus on each sentence rather than skimming to the bottom. Reading backward makes you more likely to catch grammatical errors, patch up punctuation mistakes, remove unnecessary details that make it obvious you used a resume template, and spot any other missteps.

Reread in another font

Changing your font style can also help as you edit. Not only does it make your document look fresher to your eyes (which is important when you’ve been staring at it for so long), but research shows that text style also impacts our cognitive processes which improves your chances of catching more mistakes. 

Enlist the help of a friend

There are plenty of professional resume writing services that can help you get this done. But, if you’re staying focused on free solutions, ask a trusted friend to take a look at your resume, provide some constructive feedback, and complete a thorough edit. 

Don’t know anybody you’d trust with this important task? Teal’s free Resume Builder can do the hard work for you and take you from first draft to final product with clarity and confidence. 

Common resume mistakes to avoid

Before we delve even further into the heart of the resume editing process, let's shine a spotlight on some common resume blunders that can make hiring managers push your application aside. Avoiding these resume mistakes is the first step toward crafting an irresistible resume.

Including a career objective

Back in the day, it was common to begin a resume with a career objective. It might have sounded something like, "Seeking a challenging role to utilize my skills by..." 

But today, it's seen as outdated and space-consuming. Instead, HR professionals prefer a resume headline or professional summary that focuses on your skills and achievements and shows them what you bring to the table rather than what you hope to gain. Make it about them, not you.

Lengthy and dense resumes

The quickest way to lose a hiring manager's attention is by presenting them with a text-heavy, multi-page document. Remember, recruiters often scan hundreds of resumes, so it's important to keep yours concise and to the point. Aim to keep your resume to one page when possible, and make sure every word counts.

Including irrelevant information

Your resume isn’t an autobiography, but a tailored document showcasing why you're the perfect fit for the specific role you're applying for. Including information that doesn't relate to the job at hand, such as hobbies or personal details, can distract the hiring manager from your pertinent skills and experiences.

Poor formatting and design

Finally, subpar formatting can be a real deal-breaker. Even with stellar qualifications, a resume that's cluttered and hard to read can land in the rejection pile. 

Clarity and simplicity reign supreme when it comes to your resume format. The best resumes use a clean, professional font, ensure ample white space for maximum readability, and are structured so that key selling points and qualifications are easily noticeable.

7 resume editing tips

With some careful editing, you can work your way toward a professionally written resume (or at least, one that seems like it was written by a professional). Here are seven must-know editing tips to create a way-better-than-good resume that helps you land a job interview and score your next job. 

1. Tailor your resume to the job description

No two jobs are the same, so your job applications shouldn’t be either. The more your resume speaks to the specific role and company you're applying for, the more you'll stand out. 

Research the company, understand the role requirements, and mirror the language used in the description. Highlight the specific areas of your work experience, certifications, and relevant volunteer work that align closely with what the employer is seeking.

Teal’s AI Resume Achievements feature will help you produce metric-driven achievements to include with your work history, using keywords from your target job description. It’s a fast and simple way to get past an applicant tracking system and present yourself as an obvious fit. When you’re ready to see how your current resume stacks up against the job, use Matching Mode to run a comparison and see which edits you can make to better position yourself.

To understand more about the different parts of a resume and how to tailor them, check out our comprehensive guide. 

2. Use action verbs and quantifiable achievements

Here’s a philosophy that professional resume services rely on: Recruiters care less about what you did and more about why it mattered

One of the key aspects to focus on while editing your resume is showcasing your achievement examples—especially those that align with the job role you're seeking. It's not just about stating what duties you performed in your previous roles, but about emphasizing the results you delivered and the impact you had.

Did you boost sales by 20% or lead a team to successfully complete a critical project? Maybe you streamlined a process that led to a 10% reduction in operation time or costs. Ensure these accomplishments stand out on your resume. Quantifying these successes with specific numbers provides hiring managers with tangible evidence of your capabilities and the value you can bring to their organization.

While those numbers do a lot of the talking themselves, start each of your work history bullet points with a powerful action verb. Mix them up so that each bullet starts with something different (you don’t want to say “managed” over and over again). 

If you need help, Teal’s Resume Builder will weave metrics into your achievements and suggest strong action verbs to increase your impact.

3. Keep your resume concise and relevant

Recruiters are busy people (sometimes reviewing dozens of resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles each day). Therefore, your resume should be as concise as possible while still conveying your relevant accomplishments. With Teal’s Analysis Mode, you can see how your resume compares to the posted job and make strategic improvements. 

A good resume makes every word count. Instead of listing every job you've ever had, focus on the most relevant ones. A well-structured, succinct resume can make a powerful impression.

4. Use a professional format and layout

Resumes aren’t about style over substance (simpler is always better), but the visual appeal of your document matters. Even if you have a great resume with all the experience and skills an employer is looking for, inconsistent fonts, mismatched bullet points, or cluttered information can turn off recruiters. 

Ensure you use a simple, clean layout with consistent formatting throughout. Bullet points should align; dates should be in chronological order; and fonts should be easy to read. Teal’s resume templates are a great place to start when creating a professional resume. 

free resume templates
Check out Teal's free resume templates to make resume editing easy

5. Proofread and edit your resume

Nothing can tarnish a good first impression like spelling or grammatical mistakes—they suggest sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail. After you finish writing, proofread your resume thoroughly to check for typos.

Teal’s Spelling and Grammar tool offers built-in guidance to ensure your resume and cover letter are polished up and error-free. 

But you don’t have to just rely on spellcheck. Read it aloud, have someone else review it, or rely on some of the other editing tips shared earlier. A flawless resume proves you care about your work and showcases professionalism in your job search.

6. Update your resume regularly

Creating a professional resume isn’t a one-time task. While your career evolves, your resume should too.

With that in mind, make a habit of frequently revisiting your resume and making any necessary updates—whether it’s to add a new job, swap out your skills, or implement advice you got through career coaching. 

Your career can be unpredictable, and regularly updating your resume means you always have a polished resume to start with if and when your dream job presents itself. 

7. Seek professional help if needed

Feel intimidated by the task of creating your own resume? You can try a free resume builder like Teal to craft a resume online that puts your best foot forward in your job search. You’ll find resume templates and plenty of other features that take the stress and confusion out of both writing and editing your resume. 

Or, you can enlist professional resume writing services or a resume writer to do the work for you. Be aware that opting for resume services doesn’t mean you’ll get to be completely hands-off, though. You’ll need to work closely with resume services to feed them information about your history and experience. 

Plus, a professionally written resume can be costly. Exactly how much you can expect to pay will depend on your experience level, but the typical range for entry-level services is between $150 and $450 and more than $750 for an executive resume writer (and you can likely only use these finished resumes once for whatever role it was tailored for).

A free resume builder like Teal is far more cost-effective. Plus, it gets the job done just as well and with an equal amount of elbow grease from your end. If you’re willing to put in a little investment and want the best value, the premium package (Teal+) gets you even more helpful features like unlimited AI uses and email templates for a price that’s way more affordable than most resume writing services. 

How to edit a resume in different formats

We’ve covered a lot, but now let’s talk briefly about the actual logistics of editing. How you go about making tweaks and updates will depend on your existing resume format. Here’s a look at three of the most common ones.

How to edit a resume in PDF

PDFs are typically meant to be static and read-only files, which means they’re notoriously tough to edit. If your resume is in this file format, your best bet is to sign up for Adobe Acrobat (there’s a seven-day free trial, but after that you’ll have to pay) and edit within that program. There are other free solutions to edit a resume in PDF, but most of them are glitchy and clunky to use. 

How to edit a resume in Word

Things are a little more straightforward when editing your resume in Microsoft Word—provided you already have access to Word. If not, you’ll need to pay for the program or upload your Word document to a different word processor like Google Docs or Pages. However, that will likely introduce some wonky formatting adjustments and other headaches when transferring between programs. 

How to edit a resume on LinkedIn

If you built your resume using LinkedIn’s Resume Builder, editing is pretty easy. Click the “more” icon to the right of the resume you want to change and then select “edit” to make your changes. 

But while it’s straightforward, we wouldn’t recommend this route. Your LinkedIn profile isn’t tailored to a specific job, which means it lacks the information and impact you need to make your resume stand out. Plus, many users say the resume templates are lackluster and the experience is cumbersome. 

Instead of purchasing Word or Adobe or tearing your hair out while you edit in different formats, try Teal. You can import your LinkedIn profile or copy-and-paste your resume for easier saving, editing, and tailoring for each job.

Take your resume to the next level with Teal

You can’t overstate the importance of a well-crafted and refined resume in your job hunt. And while that might make you tempted to enlist the help of a resume writing service, Teal is a far better and more cost-effective way to go.

Why pay hundreds for a single resume review that gives you a document that’s only suitable for one job when you can use Teal to create impressive, tailored resumes for all different types of positions (and for only $9 each month)?

Teal is a no-brainer fit for your job search—and it’ll help you present yourself as a no-brainer fit for the job you want. So, don't let a lackluster resume stand between you and your dream job. Get started with Teal today to start refining your resume.

And when you’re done perfecting your resume, learn how to format a cover letter to stand out even more in your job search.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tailor my resume for a specific job while editing?

Focus on matching your skills and experiences with the job description. Use keywords from the job posting, and highlight relevant accomplishments. Be selective with what you include to ensure your resume aligns closely with the employer's needs, making it easier for hiring managers to see you as a fit.

What is the best way to quantify achievements on my resume?

Use numbers, percentages, or other metrics to give concrete evidence of your accomplishments. For example, instead of saying "increased sales," specify "increased sales by 25% over a six-month period." This provides a clear measure of your impact and makes your achievements more tangible.

Should I include a profile or summary at the top of my resume, and what should it contain?

Yes, a profile or summary can be very effective. It should be a brief, compelling overview of your professional background, tailored to the role you're applying for. Include key skills, experiences, and the value you bring, using specific keywords from the job description to make your resume stand out.

Kat Boogaard

Kat is a freelance writer focused on the world of work. When she's not at her computer, you'll find her with her family—which includes two adorable sons and two rebellious rescue mutts.

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